"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth" (Ps. 60:4).
Life through Hearing
By Fred O. Blakely
"The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live" (Jn. 5:25). That proclamation by our Lord referred to the hearing of Him by faith (Gal. 3:2), and the result therefrom of spiritual life. So, as John asserts, do we "have life" by believing that "Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God" (Jn. 20:30-31).
The same literal effects of hearing the Lord's voice--the physical resurrection from the dead--are proclaimed in John 5:28 (cf. I Th. 4:16). Firstfruit specimens of that climactic occurrence were manifested in the three bodily resurrections performed by Jesus during His earthly ministry.
Meanwhile, spiritual life has its inception by now hearing Christ, as He addresses us through the Scriptures. He presently is so speaking to us "from heaven," as it is written (Heb. 12:25). We but require to have ears to hear Him and submissive hearts to yield to His demands of us.
So the invitation and declaration through Isaiah: "Incline your ear, and come unto Me: hear, and your soul shall live" (Isa. 55:3).
"As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself," Jesus went on to say (Jn. 5:26). That is why the Father turned us over to the Son for the reception of spiritual and eternal life. "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," He said; "hear ye Him" (Mt. 17:5).
To hear Christ, in the sense of heeding what He says, indeed, is to live unto God. On the other hand, not to hear Him in that sense, is to remain dead in sin, and will be eternally disastrous.
Peter's citation of Moses' prophecy in that connection underscores the latter fact. "It shall come to pass that every soul that will not hearken to that Prophet [Christ] shall be utterly destroyed from among the people" (Acts 3:22-23, ASV; cf. Deut. 18:15, 18-19).
The Bondage to Christ
Representations Made by David M. Maddack
"Of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage" (II Pet. 2:19, ASV).
Although the reference here is to the "corruption" occasioned by fleshly and worldly lusts, the principle is fully applicable to the Lord Jesus, in His mastery of men. Thus, Paul speaks of himself as "the servant of Christ" (Gal. 1:10), who had been utterly possessed by Him (Phil. 3:7-9). Truly, Jesus had "overcome" the church's former persecutor, transforming him into one of its greatest benefactors.
Hence, those today, as always, who properly respond to the gospel call become "Christ's servant" (I Cor. 7:22), or bond servant, having been "bought with a price" -that of His own precious blood (I Cor. 6:19-20; I Pet. 1:17-20).
Yet-blessed circumstance!-it is a cheerfully willing, or consenting, slavery into which they thus come. Indeed, in the full servitude of Christ is the only true liberty-from self and sin. Thus, Jesus' declaration, "If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (Jn. 8:36). And Paul's: "He that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman" (I Cor. 7:22).
By nature we were "the servants of sin." But, having obeyed the gospel, we became "the servants of righteousness" through the Savior (Rom. 6:17-18). Let us rejoice in that servitude, and make the most of it, to the praise of both the Father and the Son.
"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately" (Lk. 12:35-36).